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Another brick in the wall

The Greedy Professions

Last week I wrote about my anxieties with job searching, which I think is relatively common, even if my personal concerns are a little more specific. I know very few people who enjoy the job application and interview process, and people who say they do get on my nerves.

My other concerns with job searching have to do with the actual process of getting accustomed to a new work environment. A recent New York Times article by Claire Cain Miller highlighted how many professions, particularly those which require an advanced degree, increasingly require round-the-clock availability. Miller refers to these professions as “The Greedy Professions.”

My perception might be a bit skewed since I previously worked in politics, which famously requires long hours, but I’m used to overly demanding employers. It wasn’t uncommon for me and my coworkers to be in the office 90 hours per week. There were also instances when I was informed at midnight that I was required to be at an event at 6:00 a.m. I regularly felt simultaneously exhausted and frantic.

Over the years, and since I stopped working on political campaigns, I’ve started emphasizing personal care in my daily habits, like making sure I get eight hours of sleep per night and exercising every day. Since graduate students often have nontraditional work hours, this has been relatively easy to take on. I’ve also found myself feeling calmer and more clear-headed over the last couple of years.

Unfortunately, since I’m finishing my degree and preparing to reenter the workforce fulltime, I’m not sure that prospective employers are willing to offer this same sense of flexibility and ability to achieve a work-life balance. I already decided I’m not willing to work in an environment where my supervisor thinks it’s appropriate to ask for something in the middle of the night, though saying as much doesn’t go over well in job interviews.

According to the Times article, married women with children particularly face career penalties because of increasingly demanding workplaces, often choosing to either work part time or drop out of the workforce entirely to accommodate childcare responsibilities.

I am considering remote work, or at least partially remote work, as options, though unfortunately right now I don’t have any particularly good solutions for myself and others with similar concerns.

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